Expert Talks for Secondary School

To help broaden the knowledge of the younger generation in the fields of energy and environment, the School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, offers a number of talks to the secondary school students in Hong Kong. Given by the professors in the School, the talks can be conducted in the CityU campus in Kowloon Tong or the secondary schools as requested.

Interested secondary schools are welcome to contact the School at the following methods for arrangement.

By email:
By fax: 3442 0688

Topic & Brief Description Speaker* Language

Turning Food Waste to Energy
Everyday Hong Kong generates 3,500 tons of food waste. Sending food waste to landfills will not be sustainable in the long run. Instead, we can use biological processes to turn these organic matters into energy. Let's find out together how we can make use of biology to make this happen.

Dr. Patrick LEE


Renewable Energy – the Only Way to go for a Sustainable Future
Our heavy reliance on fossil fuel and nuclear power has caused serious environmental impacts and energy crisis. The ultimate solution is to switch to renewable energy, such as solar, wind and ocean energy, for achieving a sustainable future. In this talk, the Speaker will give an overview of the renewable energy resources and technologies, followed by a discussion of the upcoming challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy industry.

Professor Michael LEUNG


What is in Your Cell Phone Battery?
Battery is a common device that is found in all mobile electronics such as cell phone, iPads and laptops. It is often regarded as a "black box" that allows us to play games, surf the web, whatsapp your friends, etc. Most people nowadays develop a very emotional attachment to it – anxiety rises when the battery power is low. Connection to the outside world seems to stop when the battery is dead. In the talk, we will look inside the black box to see how electricity and energy is stored and extracted. We will describe the science inside a battery, and the technological and manufacturing developments that enable mass production of the batteries. Why do we have to charge our cell phone so often? We will answer this question from the perspectives of energy supply, energy demand and user behaviours.

Dr. Denis YU


Are Typhoons Unpredictable?
Typhoons affect Hong Kong every year, and yet predictions of their movements, intensities, etc sometimes appear to have large errors. Given our significant advances in computing power, with great satellite coverage of the typhoons, many people expect that such predictions should be rather accurate. So what causes uncertainties in these predictions?
In this talk, we will start with understanding the basics of a typhoon, how it forms, moves, intensifies and dies. We will then describe the tools with which forecasters use to predict the changes in the characteristics of each individual typhoon. Based on such knowledge, we will discuss the factors that can lead to uncertainties in the predictions.

Professor Johnny CHAN


How to Turn Food Waste into Chemicals and Materials?
Current technologies for the production of chemicals, materials and fuels depend mainly on fossilized hydrocarbons. However, the depletion of fossil resources and the increasing concern of environmental issues have created the need for the development of the sustainable alternatives based on renewable raw materials. Many chemicals that used to produce via chemical processes can now potentially be generated biologically from renewable raw materials. The talk will introduce a novel food waste-based biorefining strategy for the production of nutrient-complete feedstocks for the production of biochemicals, biofuels and biopolymers.

Dr. Carol LIN


Interfacing Air Pollution Science to Air Pollution Policy
Although the problems of air pollution have been known for a long time, it has not been easy to improve air quality in major cities. China has particularly struggled with the problem of air pollution and must meet more stringent guidelines by 2016. Hong Kong will also need to ensure that its air has less polluted air, despite rapid growth in the Pearl River Delta. This talk will examine the way in which our perceptions of air pollution interface with scientific understanding and how this affects the way it can be regulated most effectively.

Professor Peter BRIMBLECOMBE


Self-cleaning Clothes: a Virtual Reality
In Hong Kong, high humidity favors the growth of mold and bacteria, making cleaning a daunting daily task. Moreover, with the high population density, the spreading of antibiotic-resistant pathogens remains a growing global concern. Therefore, with increasing demand toward hygienic, self-disinfecting, and contamination-free surfaces, interest in developing efficient self-cleaning, protective materials has grown. Using nanotechnology, nano-sized coatings of titanium dioxide on fibrous materials have been achieved. These fibres can clean themselves when exposed to light. Self-cleaning may one day become a standard feature of textiles and clothing. This would improve the environment through reduced use of water, energy and petroleum-derived detergents. There would be a benefit to the quality of life if cleaning clothes was as simple as hanging them on the line.

Dr. Walid DAOUD


Predicting the Weather and Climate
Humans have been trying to predict the weather and climate for thousands of years. Thanks to developments in atmospheric science, computer science and mathematics, our ability to do so has improved dramatically over the last 50 years. Indeed the advent of accurate short-term weather forecasts, which are now taken for granted by everyone, represents one of the great scientific and technological triumphs of the 20th Century. However, many uncertainties remain. This talk will review the scientific basis for predicting the weather and climate. It will also discuss the outstanding challenges and the prospects for the future.

Dr. Keith NGAN


El Niño and Extreme Weather: Is There a Connection?
This talk aims to provide students with an understanding of contemporary climate issues, to broaden students’ knowledge about El Niño, and to raise their awareness of extreme weather in a changing world. It covers issues such as weather and climate in our lives, the history of our changing climate, sea level rise and our future, El Niño events and disastrous climate, tropical cyclones, and response to climate change. It intends to enable students to contribute to the debate on global environmental change and societal adaption strategies, to connect scientific world with daily life and to help students become better informed citizens and decision makers.

Dr. Wen ZHOU


Ozone Air Quality in Hong Kong
In this talk, we will discuss the current issues of climate change and air quality in Hong Kong, start looking at the interaction between climate change and air pollution and explore the potential short-term solutions to these problems. 

Dr. Nicky LAM


How is Energy Stored?
The intermittent nature of renewable energy like solar and wind requires efficient and clean storage for later use and transport. This is one key to the continuous growth of the renewable energy industry and to a sustainable future. Let's discover in this talk different ways of storing energy from using reservoirs and dams to modern-era technologies like chemical fuels, batteries and thermal energy storage.

Dr. Patrick SIT


Hybrid organic-inorganic materials for solar energy application
Hybrid organic-inorganic materials will play a critical role in the development of advanced functional materials. They can be broadly defined as molecular or nano-compositions with organic and inorganic components. Hybrid perovskite materials have been rapidly adopted for solar energy applications since 2009, as a result of impressive features, such as high absorption coefficient and long exciton diffusion length. Today, we are at the beginning of this material revolution that could have a positive influence on renewable and alternative energy. The speaker will introduce the basic knowledge related to hybrid materials, photophysical properties, photoelectrochemistry and solar cells.

Dr. Sam HY HSU


Wireless Power Transfer: Contactless Charging for Our Life
Wireless power transfer (WPT) - Such technology has been created by Nicolas Tesla over 100 years before. After quieted for nearly 100 years, the WPT technology has been re-proposed again for different applications in our life, such as mobile phone charging, lighting, electric vehicle charging, etc.. The talk will introduce this interesting topic and reveal the electricity usage without wire constraint for our life.

Dr. LIU Chunhua


Economic Thinking of Energy and Environmental Policy
Pollution and global warming are two of the hottest issues in current public and policy debates. Governmental bodies, both local, regional and international, have implemented a series of policies to tackle these issues. In this talk, we will discuss how to understand and evaluate these policies from the perspective of economics.



Air Pollution and Cooking
Particulate matter (PM) will induce health issues and hinder the visibility of the cities. Part of the “contributions” lies on the restaurants. Through the talk, you will understand how and why the cooking process in restaurants will create potentially hazardous PM and adversely affects the environment and human health.

Professor CHAN Chak-keung


New Technology for Drinkable Seawater
Water is everywhere: in the air, clouds, rivers, oceans, ice, plants and inside the Earth. However, 97% of water is saline and in the oceans. Therefore, converting seawater into drinking water can be considered one of the best alternative water resources: the new desalination plant will be located in Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong, in the near future. This talk will review water technologies and novel technologies that have the potential to achieve sustainability for desalination. It will also discuss the next generation of desalination in three folds: increase water recovery (reduce brine/concentrate), lower energy use, and increase resource (minerals) recovery. 

Dr. Alicia AN


Carbon Capture and Storage – An Effective Way to Combat Global Warming
To meet the high energy demand of human beings, the burning of fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and gas, has been increasing since the industrialization occurred and will still dominate the energy supply in the foreseeable future. This process leads to emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which contributes to global warming. One effective way to mitigate global warming is to capture and store the emitted CO2 to prevent it from polluting the atmosphere. This talk will introduce the carbon capture and storage technology and particularly focus on adsorption technology for CO2 capture.

Dr. Jin Shang


Fail-Safe vs. Safe-to-fail systems: How to Design Resilient Infrastructure?
Large direct and indirect impacts across national and international boundaries of natural disasters like 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, infrastructure failures, infrastructure failures like the 2001 U.S. North-East blackout, epidemics like the H1N1 influenza, terrorist attacks like the 9/11, and social unrests like the Arab Spring are indicative of the vulnerability associated with growing complexity. There is an urgent need to understand resilience of complex systems to move from the fail-safe paradigm to safe-to-fail approached to engineering. This talk will introduce the concept of resilience along with its various definitions; discuss the relationship between resilience and sustainability; and present ways to build resilient systems of the future.

Dr. Shauhrat Chopra


*For more information of the speakers, please refer to